From the Cranbourne Leader
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Herald Sun reporter James Mottershead tweeted this photo of Casey Fields on Saturday.
Former Melbourne champion Garry Lyon has delivered a verbal shirt-front to the Casey Fields VFL ground, calling it a “cow paddock’’.
Critics have blamed the poor ground surface on two player injuries in last Saturday’s Round 16 VFL match between the Casey Demons and Geelong.
Heavy rain during the week left parts of it waterlogged, most notably the centre half forward areas.
Cats Zach Guthrie (ankle) and Nathan Kreuger (left knee) were injured in the first half.
“Did the conditions have something to do with it? I think we have got to definitely look into that,’’ Geelong coach Shane O’Bree said after the match.
“Yeah we will (raise concerns with the VFL), it got ticked off but I don’t think they ticked it off properly.”
The Cats have since raised the matter with AFL Victoria.
Leader has been told another club also had concerns about the surface earlier in the season.
Casey officials confirmed new drainage will be installed at the ground at the end of the season. Surface improvement works will also be carried out.
On radio station SEN this morning Lyon was blunt about the state of Casey Fields.
“Is Casey Stadium contributing to the skill demise of Melbourne?’’ Lyon asked on SEN this morning.
“(It was) in a horrible state on the weekend … cow paddock … there’s a picture of it going around … the actual surface was deplorable.
“The wind out there is cyclonic most of the time. How can you contribute your best young talent from a skill point of view if you’re continually playing footy in a wind tunnel?’’
The Demons’ next VFL game is against Frankston in Round 20 on Sunday, August 18, but a VFL W match against Darebin is scheduled for Sunday, August 4.
Both are under “wait and watch’’ status.
Melbourne and Brisbane played a practice match at Casey Fields in March.
Casey Demons general manager Peter Maynard said today: “We’ve got an issue with the drainage which goes back to the original drainage system.
“The council (City of Casey) have done a magnificent job of managing the ground but unfortunately when you get a lot of rain in such a short time, like we did last Tuesday and Wednesday, the drainage doesn’t cope and the water sits in the top layer of soil.’’
Asked if he was comfortable with a VFL match being played at Casey Fields last Saturday, Maynard said: “In hindsight it would have been better to have a better surface but because it happened late, and there was reasonable sun and wind in the two days leading up to the game, we were hopeful it would have dried up.
“We did alert Geelong to the situation on the Friday that the ground wasn’t 100 per cent. Both clubs inspected it on Saturday morning and the decision was made to go ahead.’’
Maynard said the club was in talks with Casey Council about extending the planned works at the end of the season.
He said it was a “stretch’’ to suggest the condition of the ground had anything to do with Melbourne’s skill level.
‘Garry is a Melbourne man but I’m not sure Garry has been out to Casey Fields in recent times,’’ Maynard said.
“So for him to term it deplorable and talk about cyclonic winds … is questionable.’’